Monday, June 2, 2008

"Hide 'n Seek" isn't Always a Game!

Did you know the Bible talks a lot about playing "hide 'n seek"? It's always a deadly game, however. Jeremiah 3 is one place we find a game of "hide 'n seek" in the Bible:

God: "Come back, wandering children!" (3:14) (from The Message)

God's Children (Israel then, us now): "We're here! We've come back to you. ... " (3:22)

A couple of blog submissions back ("Cinderella Gone"), I described briefly some of what happened the night I ran over my 6-year-old son. There is a "hide 'n seek" aspect to his story. We had shared supper with friends. It was time to go home. We began to call our sons. One came; the other didn't. We looked and called all over the house and yard. Finally I said I'd take son #1 home and start the bedtime routine while dad stayed to look for son #2.

I got in my car (parked at the curb on the street) and backed up. My friend started screaming. I jumped out of the car and couldn't believe what I saw. My son was under the back tire of the car. The tire was on top of him. He was lying face down in the dirt and leaves that had collected at the curb. I jumped back into the car and pulled forward. This is the scariest part of all! Fortunately he was unconscious. If he had moved the slightest bit, I could have driven over his head when I pulled forward. However, getting the car off him quickly probably saved his life.

(That same week in our town a mail person got out of her car and it rolled back on her. Her rescuers waited until enough men came to lift the car off her. By then she was dead. The news account "Preacher's wife runs over son" was on the front page of the paper along with the article about the mail person.)

The truth is that my young son was playing a deadly game of hide 'n seek. He didn't want to come when we called. He wanted to stay and play with his friend. So he chose a very risky hiding place - crouched behind my car.

When my son regained consciousness - still lying in the street but turned very carefully face up by our doctor friend - his first words were chilling, "Daddy, I'm gonna die. Please don't let me die." and later "That car was really heavy." I can smile at the irony now, but then it far too desperate for a smile. I too thought he might die.

Like Israel (and me) in Jeremiah 3, my son intended to hide. He chose not to come when we called. In his six-year-old mind the goal was to stay and play with his friend. He was simply playing a deadly game of hide 'n seek.

How many times in life am I like my young son? In reading and reflecting on the game of hide 'n seek described in Jeremiah 3, I have to admit that I'm often the one who is hiding. I'm the one who chooses not to come when I'm called. I foolishly think that no one knows or sees my new hiding place. I ignore the danger of my bad choices. I sometimes ignore my Father's voice when He calls this wandering child to come. I contemplate times in life when I was lost and didn't even know it. I wonder how many times in my life God has come calling and seeking when I was "hiding" in a dangerous place but had no clue that danger lurks.

We all lose our way. We all make bad choices. We all pick hiding places that are dangerously ingenious but deadly.

What’s important is not that we “goof up” but how we respond when we do! Do we know to cry, “Here I am, Daddy! Help me out of this place!” OR do we foolishly and stubbornly try to find our own answers to life’s questions and solve life’s problems all by ourselves? When God comes calling (the Seeker), do I (or you) stay crouched in hiding?

All it takes to reverse this “game” we play with ourselves and God is for us to call to Him, “Here! I’m right here, Father! I don’t want to hide anymore!”

I saw my own heart in the words of the ancient prophet Jeremiah this morning. I am the one in desperate need of being found and rescued by my Father, The King. I choose foolish things and places that I think are safe. This morning I know my Father is calling and seeking. My Father – The King – is so willing to seek me anytime anywhere in any corner of the world. He even sent His Son to die in my place so real restoration for this old heart of mine that chooses to hide when He’s seeking is possible!

A favorite verse is 2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. ...” Do you get the picture? God is seeking. He wants to scoop you and me up in His arms and say, “I’m so glad I found you!” Being found is just the best!

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